The obedience of the Rechabites. (1-11) The Jews' disobedience to the Lord. (12-19)
Verses 1-11 Jonadab was famous for wisdom and piety. He lived nearly ( 2 Kings. 10:15 ) to drink wine. He also appointed them to dwell in tents, or movable dwelling: this would teach them not to think of settling any where in this world. To keep low, would be the way to continue long in the land where they were strangers. Humility and contentment are always the best policy, and men's surest protection. Also, that they might not run into unlawful pleasures, they were to deny themselves even lawful delights. The consideration that we are strangers and pilgrims should oblige us to abstain from all fleshly lusts. Let them have little to lose, and then losing times would be the less dreadful: let them sit loose to what they had, and then they might with less pain be stript of it. Those are in the best frame to meet sufferings who live a life of self-denial, and who despise the vanities of the world. Jonadab's posterity observed these rules strictly, only using proper means for their safety in a time of general suffering.
Verses 12-19 The trial of the Rechabites' constancy was for a sign; it made the disobedience of the Jews to God the more marked. The Rechabites were obedient to one who was but a man like themselves, and Jonadab never did for his seed what God has done for his people. Mercy is promised to the Rechabites. We are not told respecting the performance of this promise; but doubtless it was performed, and travellers say the Rechabites may be found a separate people to this day. Let us follow the counsels of our pious forefathers, and we shall find good in so doing.
In this chapter the disobedience of the people of the Jews unto God is aggravated by the obedience of the Rechabites to their father; and the one are threatened with the judgments of God upon them, and the other have a promise of the divine blessing. The time of this prophecy is observed; Jer 35:1; an order to bring the Rechabites into one of the chambers of the temple, which was done accordingly, Jer 35:2-4; wine is set before them to drink; which they refuse; alleging the command of their father to the contrary, Jer 35:5-7; which they had carefully and constantly obeyed in every part of it, excepting that which respects their dwelling in tents; for which they give a reason, Jer 35:8-11; by this instance of filial obedience to parents, the disobedience of the Jews towards their Father, which is in heaven, is aggravated; who, though he gave them laws and commandments, and sent his prophets to put them in mind of them, and exhort them to obedience, yet hearkened not to them, Jer 35:12-15; wherefore the Lord threatens to bring all the evil on them he had pronounced, Jer 35:16,17; and promises the sons of Rechab that there should be always some of them that should minister unto him, Jer 35:18,19.